Magnus couldn't help but watch the pair before him, a soft smile resting on his lips as he watched Madzie be completely entranced with his boyfriend.
They were doing some sort of version of patty cake, Alec instructing her when to switch hands so that they'd smack the backs of their hands together then switch to palms and so on.
"Well, he's good with kids, I'll give you that."
Magnus side-eyed one of his oldest friends, and Catarina's smile broadened.
"Come on. Don't tell me it hasn't been on your mind. I know you always said you didn't want to be 'tied down' but I know and you know that that was bullshit."
He sipped his drink. "Well, you know the prices of being immortal, Catarina."
"I do. But I also know you have never felt about someone the way you feel about him."
Magnus didn't have a response to that, knowing that the fondness glowing in his chest just from looking at Alec's happy expression far surpassed anything that lasted in any previous relationship.
New love could be like that—the 'honeymoon stage'. Full of heavy hearts of giddiness, insatiable kisses, and a desire to not spend any time apart. Months had passed and Magnus only felt it stronger at times, but with the comfort and security of a long-term relationship. It was the best of both worlds.
Instead of responding, Magnus bid his time by chewing his tongue, trying to come up with a cheeky answer to wipe the smirk off of Catarina's face.
His slowness only fueled her entertainment, but he became distracted by the ripples forming in his drink. His eyes narrowed in on the liquid.
"Something wrong with your drink? Mine tastes weak as hell." Catarina admitted.
The table of punch and dishes started shaking hard enough to pull her attention away, and Magnus braced himself as the ground quaked as if tectonic plates were battling below them.
Alec, too, immediately felt the growing rumble beneath his feet, his hands pausing in front of the small warlock's before he stood up to take a look around the room.
A hush fell over the room as more guests noticed the disturbance, the shaking growing in strength.
Gasps sounded out as various magic lit up in different areas, balls of light crackling in hands, but it was Catarina's cry that made Alec realize what was happening.
"I can't control my magic!"
The panic swarmed like wildfire, warlocks looking for a source of the powerful culprit while trying to keep their powers in check, and Alec gripped Madzie's shoulder as she huddled closer to his side.
"I'm out of here!" one warlock shouted, summoning a portal to jump through.
But instead of transporting him to a destination, it turned a vicious red and began grotesquely tearing apart his outstretched limb before eating the rest of him and his screams.
The swirling portal kept moving, this time heading directly for Madzie standing next to him, and Alec moved on instinct. He crouched down, covering Madzie's small body with his own as he put his back to the oncoming threat.
"Madzie, run!" he told her, but she clutched his shirt tightly, eyes round with fear. He could see the gills on her neck flickering into view.
An orange glow formed around her hands and, before he could tell her not to try magic, Magnus was blasting the portal away in a cloud of blue and white sparks.
Alec glanced up at his stoic boyfriend, cat eyes alight as he left his hands outstretched, and Alec finally stood up.
"What's going on?" he asked, eyes focused entirely on Magnus.
He had never heard of something like what had just transpired. It had to be something incredibly powerful to interfere with the magic of the entirety of the New York warlocks.
"I have no idea." Magnus replied, brow furrowed in concern.
A beat passed and then Lorenzo started trying to do damage control, smarming up his guests and telling them all about the h'or oeuvres that were by the expensive artwork he acquired from some famous person a couple centuries prior. That they shouldn't let a little noise and bloodshed ruin a good night.
But no one paid him much mind. It was clear everyone had been rattled by the attack.
"Madzie, are you all right?" Alec asked quietly, squatting back down to her level.
She nodded quickly. Her eyes scanned him, looking for signs of hurt, but he simply smiled.
"I'm okay too."
A small smile graced her face before she looked over to Cat and Magnus, who were sharing a communicative look that only came with knowing someone for so long.
They were afraid.
Alec moved to walk over to them but Madzie's grip on his pant leg made him pause and look down. She simply glanced up at him before stepping closer, and he stroked her hair soothingly. It wasn't helping that all of the powerful adult warlocks were freaking out.
Catarina noticed the exchange and crossed the distance to stand in front of them.
"Thank you, Alec. For protecting her. Everything happened so fast."
"Magnus was the real hero." Alec reminded her, knowing that the portal would've torn through him and then Madzie if Magnus hadn't been able to blast it away. With the magic going haywire as it had been, they had gotten off extremely lucky that he had had enough control to diminish the risk.
Magnus was by his side, hand finding the small of Alec's back. He met his boyfriend's eyes, giving him a once over, and Alec sent him a reassuring smile.
Catarina looked between the two of them before her eyes landed on Madzie, who was still gripping onto Alec.
"Madzie… we should get going. It's getting late and it's way past your bed time."
Instead of replying, she just looked at Cat before shuffling closer to Alec, wrapping her arm around his leg in a clear anchoring stance.
Magnus hid a smile, poorly, and Cat sent him an annoyed look. Her face twisted into amusement before long and she sighed.
"You know what. I have an early shift. Would you two be up for taking Madzie for the night? I can pick her up tomorrow evening. I think I'd feel safer having her with you two until we at least have an idea what we're dealing with."
Madzie squeezed around Alec's leg, and he knew she was on board, which made him chuckle and rub her back affectionately. Magnus read his boyfriend's happy expression with ease and turned to his friend.
"We'd be delighted. And I'll try to get us some answers."
"Oh there will be no need for that. I'm the High Warlock now, Magnus, don't forget. It is my job to protect and lead us warlocks now."
Lorenzo was at Catarina's elbow suddenly, shooting daggers at Magnus who plastered on a grimace in response.
"Yes, well. Lovely evening, Lorenzo. Forgive us for bowing out early."
And with that, he looped an arm through Alec's and half-dragged him to the door, Madzie taking Alec's hand to follow as Catarina brought up the rear.
Back at the loft, Alec left Madzie in the guest room with a borrowed change of clothes and a promise to read to her like always before she went to sleep. While she got ready for bed, he sought out his boyfriend, finding him examining his hands and stretching his fingers out.
"Are you okay? Is your magic…?"
Magnus nodded. "Seems to be okay, for now. I felt what they felt though. It was… powerful, to say the least."
Alec stretched his palms across Magnus' shoulders, applying pressure to relieve the tension gathered. Magnus groaned softly and leaned into his touch.
Alec let his hands move down the length of Magnus' back, pressing closer to drop a kiss to his collarbone.
Magnus nuzzled his cheek against his boyfriend's, humming as Alec moved his arms to loop around his waist and pull him against his chest.
"We'll figure this out." Alec murmured.
Magnus let out a sigh. "I know. I'm just… worried. Something that powerful…"
"I know." Alec replied, pressing his face into his neck and breathing him in.
They stayed like that for a few minutes. Magnus stroked over Alec's locked hands on his middle, enjoying his boyfriend's warmth seeping into him.
"Alec!" a little voice called, and Alec released Magnus to see Madzie waiting by the hallway to the guest suite.
He hid a laugh as he saw the shirt of his he lent her was several inches too long in the arms, so she had fabric covering far past her hands.
Magnus raised his hands, likely out of reflex, but Alec held an arm up to block him.
"Sorry… We shouldn't risk it. Not until we're sure there aren't any side effects from earlier." Alec explained, crossing the room to start folding the sleeves back manually.
Madzie flopped the sleeves at him with a giggle before he could fix them and he suddenly dove to tickle her sides. She squealed uncontrollably, trying to wriggle away, but he scooped her up and tossed her over his shoulder to carry her to her room.
Magnus followed amusedly, his mind traveling to his earlier conversation with Catarina. Alec being so good with kids was really doing a number on his reluctance to dream about a shared future together raising their own kids. Alec's ringing laughter mixed with Madzie's giggles painted quite a pretty picture.
Inside the guest suite, Alec had left her in front of the bookcase to pick a story while he climbed on the bed with Magnus.
Madzie finally made a choice and crawled in between them before holding the book up.
Alec smiled. "Charlotte's Web. Good choice. Magnus?"
Magnus was putty to the two pairs of eyes that looked to him expectantly.
He smiled. "Yes, I'll act out the voices when the time comes."
Both of them beamed in his direction before turning to the book as Alec opened it and began to read.
Story time didn't last very long, since Madzie was asleep against Alec's chest after only a chapter. Her little hand clutched his shirt in her fist, her breathing even and face calm, and Alec tucked the book away to the night table.
Magnus was watching him fondly, the little warlock snuggled between the pair of them.
Instead of letting his mushy feelings get the best of him, he took a teasing tone. "You know, I can't believe you're her favourite. You're not even a warlock."
Alec sent him a look. "How am I her favourite? Cat always says how much she can't stop talking about the next time she'll see you."
"Well what about when she ran right past me to get to you earlier?"
Alec huffed. "She just doesn't get to see me as much. That's all it was."
"Mhmm…" Magnus said skeptically, but his face melted into a smile. "Truly, you're so good with her. It's no wonder she worships you."
Alec met his loving gaze with one of his own, the compliment clearly touching him deeply despite the ease in which he earned it.
"I grew up at the Institute, training and taking care of younger Shadowhunters. We were the only live-in family there, so, as the oldest, spending time with the young Shadowhunters of all ages became the norm. And of course Max came later in my life. Kids have always been easy to get along with for me. They just want to feel like they matter."
Magnus played with Alec's fingers between them, their hands linked above the sleeping girl.
"Have you thought about having kids of your own someday?"
Alec watched their hands, his eyes flickering up to read Magnus' expression briefly before lowering his eyes to watch Madzie dozing peacefully. "Yeah. I guess it would've been one good thing to come out of an arranged marriage, as it's expected of Shadowhunters to procreate. It'll be nice to be able to do it by choice. I had always wanted to look into adopting after seeing how much better off Jace was for joining our family. I mean, if you're interested in adopting too."
Magnus paused, surprised by the casual way Alec included Magnus in his plans, despite the fact that Alec often spoke such strong declarations without batting an eye. The frequency didn't catch Magnus off guard any less each time.
"Is that… are kids something you're interested in?" Alec asked, watching his face now.
Magnus smiled. "With the right person, I think so. It never used to be something I thought I could have. Now… well, I suppose things change."
Alec's smile grew. He raised their linked hands to press his lips against the back of Magnus' hand.
"I'm glad they do."
This, being next to someone he loved wholly and who loved him with the same intensity, talking about a future achieving things they never let themselves imagine before... this was something he never would've predicted for himself at one point in his life. Now, Magnus was right. Some things change. For the better.
The pair seemed to have the same thought as they settled further into the bed, letting the exhaustion from the day and the peace of being honest ease them into dreams.